A Closer Look at the Role of Work Centrality in Work-Family Conflict

Topic: Work-Life Balance
Publication: Journal of Management (2008)
Article: The moderating effect of work-family centrality on work family conflict, organizational attitudes, and turnover behavior.
Blogger: Benjamin Granger

Ever miss a child’s ball game for work? The conflict between an employee’s work role and family role is known as work-family conflict (WFC). When work interferes with the family role, this type of conflict is commonly referred to as WIF conflict (i.e., work is the originator of the conflict). Carr, Boyar, and Gregory (2008) present an article in the Journal of Management investigating the connection between WIF conflict and how much people value work versus family.

Although we know that conflict between work and family negatively affects both workers and organizations, the authors were interested in whether the value one places on work relative to family reduces some of the negative effects of WIF conflict.  Carr et al.’s results show that employees who are family-centered (value the family above work) tend to have more negative attitudes toward their job (low job satisfaction and commitment) and are more likely to quit when faced with WIF conflict.  Those who are more work-centered (value work above family) are not as negatively influenced
by WIF conflict

It’s important for organizations to recognize that employees value work and family in different
ways.  It’s dangerous for organizational leaders to assume that all employees value work equally or that all employees SHOULD value work equally (My subordinates should value work just as much as I
do!).  If organizations fail to recognize and act on this knowledge, they may see higher quit rates and more employees with poor commitment and/or low job satisfaction, especially from those who are
relatively family-centered.

Carr, J.C., Boyar, S.L., & Gregory, B.T. (2008). The moderating effect of work-family centrality on work family conflict, organizational attitudes, and turnover behavior. Journal of Management, 34(2), 244-262.